Kacey Kells Interview Published on: 10, Jan 2020

When did you start writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Actually the idea wasn’t mine but my Mom’s; and the counselors at the Rape Centre highly supported it. It was supposed to be ‘a way to heal’.

I always loved writing, so after hours, days and weeks spent to persuade me, they ultimately succeeded and I agreed to write something… but it wasn’t supposed to be published. I mean, it was like a personal diary. Something way too intimate to be made public. I was ashamed of what had happened to me… and was still like trapped into a bubble. I didn’t want to share my story.

However, I reconsidered my ideas when the manuscript was finished: the counselors and Mom insisted that I HAD TO publish my journal/book, arguing that it could be a way to help people to better understand what it is to be a victim of … , and a way to help ‘Survivors’. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make… I didn’t want people to know about me… but at the same time I was tempted to publish what was now… looking like a book. But I always refused to go to Olympia Publishers, and I’ve never done a book signing.

I have a very deep and complicated relationship with this book: I love it, of course I do! More than you can imagine; it is part of me and I will do anything I can to support it. But I want to keep it away from my life. I mean, I don’t want everyone to know what had happened to me. Nevertheless, I’m fully committed to supporting Feminism, to promote Women’s Rights… It’s why I made my website: to support ‘Kellcey’… and to spread the word… about feminism, girls’ and women’s fate in our societies, rape-culture and its consequences.

Going back to the question, I would say that I don’t see myself as a writer. I’m just someone who had something to say… (and who might still have something to say!).

What time of the day do you usually write?

I think there must be different ways to write and different kinds of writing; depending on your situation, your feelings, the type of work you’re doing, the ‘most important elements of (good) writing’ are not necessarily the same. When, as a student, I write a research paper, I’m definitely not in the same conditions and mood than when I wrote ‘Kellcey’: the only thing I need then is to make sure that I will be able to make a scientifically serious and detached observation/analysis. Usually the best place is a library; and the best time is the afternoon or the evening.

Things were totally different when I wrote ‘Kellcey’. I was not a detached observer! I was immersed in this book, overwhelmed with emotion, trapped in my own story. There was no specific methodology; there was only a need: I had to explain, to tell the world about… rape and its consequences. There was no ‘best’ times to write. All I needed was to be alone with myself, in my room, cut off from the outside world.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

I believe that the most important elements of good writing are: the ‘certitude’ that you ‘have to’, that you have to say something; and the hope that what you say/write could be useful to your readers, to the society. Even if you pretend to write for yourself, the truth is that you try to communicate: to explain something, to tell a/your story. We’re social animals, and we need to interact with people, with the society…

Sometimes, however, it’s easier to communicate ‘indirectly’: then you write a book and/or chat on the internet… Sometimes, it’s the only way to communicate your ideas.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing a memoir?

Sadly, my book is about real life, not fiction. Hence, the world I’d like to ‘build’… or CHANGE… is the real world. The idea (I know it may sound utopian, but I can’t help) would be to help make a better, fairer and safer society… a society where the strong would not try to (or be permitted to) abuse or destroy the weak.

It’s why I wrote this book. I didn’t want to tell a story (my story); I wanted to explain something, something very important to me. I wanted to make people understand the cruel reality and its consequences. Because a rape is not just a crime… it destroys the victim so that she will no longer be able to function in society. A rape is something that has long term consequences. Because the victim feels ashamed, because she’s almost permanently scared, always on the verge of panicking, because she refuses to tell anyone about her own story, because she refuses to explain, to communicate, because she’s trapped in a dark bubble.

To go back to the question, I would say that, YES, indeed, I hope(d) / want(ed) to find a way to change world. Not only because it is unfair, but also because sexual assaults or abuses are sources of major social problems. I mean, abusing people is a way to segregate, to marginalize the victims… and this is not acceptable! Furthermore, we should all understand that complex societies like ours need everyone’s skills and expertise. Segregating, marginalizing, excluding people because of their gender, race or religion… is not just an abomination; it’s counter-productive! Girls and women have a brain, hands… they can learn and grow, as much as men, they can innovate, produce, contribute to the society.

I don’t see feminism as an anti-male ideology; it’s just about Human Rights. Girls and women are not a lesser species! Hence we need/deserve the same rights and protection; we need to be treated humanely… we deserve to live and to feel safe. And this will not benefit women and girls only: it’ll be good for the whole society.

Yes, indeed, ‘world building’ took an essential place/role when I started to write Kellcey… and even after.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book, "Kellcey"?

This book helped me to better understand many things; first and foremost: my own life, who I was, and who I am today. It may sounds strange but I didn’t feel the need to look back at my life before.

After… , I was like trapped in a bubble, unable to open the door, to fill the emotional void…

It’s only when I sated writing that things changed when I started writing. I soon felt overwhelmed by the need to look back at my life… Was it a way to explain… to myself… to people?

I certainly felt the need to explain that I was a ‘normal’ girl, not a sinner or worse. It’s why I wrote so many pages about my life BEFORE the assault.

Writing helped me to ‘open the door’. Until then, I was overwhelmed with shame even if I perfectly knew that it wasn’t my fault. I doubted myself and was my worst enemy… I even considered committing suicide. I was lost in darkness.

Writing ‘Kellcey’ helped me to realize that, YES, I was (at least until the assault) a ‘normal’ girl. It also made me understand that what had happened to me could happen to others… My vision of the Society changed dramatically. I realized that societies were framed by and for men, ignoring girls and women’s rights (and potential), organizing their subjugation… thus allowing (tolerating) the most heinous crimes against females.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

When I wrote Kellcey, I was all alone and didn’t know any author. But thanks to the Internet, I now know a lot of authors; many of them are now friends of mine. Most of them are awesome, kind, supportive, and it’s a real privilege to know them.

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I’m not sure if I understand the question correctly. If it is about the impact of a book on my own writing experience… the answer would be… hmmm: I have certainly been influenced by the books I read and loved (by that time, I was mostly reading classics, like Austen’s, or YA like the Twilight Saga). To tell you the truth, however, I had little (if any!) knowledge/experience of books dealing with sexual abuse…

Now, if the question is about the emotional impact that ‘Kellcey’ had (and still has) on me… the answer is: Tremendous! How could it have been otherwise? Writing this book was a way to heal and helped me to make peace with myself. It was a life-changing experience… Actually, I can say without exaggeration that writing this book saved my life (both literally and figuratively!).

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

It wasn’t until the book was published that I learned/understood/realized the power of language. Power over myself, first, for the reasons explained above. As I said, writing this book helped me change: it changed my vision of the world and how I see myself. It helped me to open the window, to see that there is some light shining through the end of the tunnel.

Regarding the power of language over the society, I know of course the importance of books and their contribution to societies, I know they can transcend people, help them to open their minds… I understand that no society or community would be able to grow without the support of books, and I would of course be extremely happy if ‘Kellcey’ could influence people and help societies strengthen and grow… but I’m fully aware that this is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, if my book can be useful to, let’s say, a handful of people… I’ll be happy.

What was your hardest scene to write in "Kellcey"?

The rape, and the rest of the night when I was alone in the bathroom.

Regarding the rape, I wasn’t sure whether I should write this chapter or not. I didn’t want to tell people about what had really happened that night. It was like telling the world that I was… defiled. Paradoxically, however, this chapter was writer extremely fast. Actually, when I think of it, it is as if I am/was not the girl who has been abused that night. Well, sorry; I don’t know how I can explain…

The writing of the following chapter (when I was in the bathroom) was way more challenging… because everything is still in me. I mean… what had happened earlier that night was like a nightmare… it’s only when I was alone in front of the mirror, and later under the shower, that I realized what had really happened to me.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

I’m reading different kind of books; you can find my favorites on my website (Favorite Books) https://kaceykells.wixsite.com/kellcey/favorite-books or on my blog (Book Review) https://kaceykells.wixsite.com/kellcey/blog

ATM, I’m reading ‘Wound’, by Gulfam Bhatia.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

It’s not an easy question to answer. When I was a child, my dad used to tell me a lot of things which filled my dreams. He’s a physicist and my realm was made of galaxies; stars were fairies… there was magic in everything… I was an unrepentant dreamer… But when I turned 12, 13, everything changed. I wanted to behave like a grownup… and only kids like children stories and so. Then, my elder sister died in a car crash… and everything changed.

As I said, I don’t see myself as a writer… even if I love writing (and will certainly write other books in the future). But I’m still a dreamer, I guess. I’d love to write fantasy stories… when I’ll be a mom. There are different kind of books I could or would like write, and depending of the kind of book we’re talking about, the answer to your question will not be the same (as a student in economics and political science, I’d love to write something about women empowerment and social development…).

To go back to your question, and if it is about writing novels or fantasy books I would say that, instead of trying to be a big girl, I should have spent more time with my father, listening to him and dreaming. I sometimes miss those days.

What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

What is MY own country? The UK where I’ve been living for 7 years, or British Colombia, where I was born and raised?

Deep in my heart, my country is BC. I know it’s kind of stupid, but I sometimes feel the tears well up in my eyes when I’m talking about BC.

Oak Bay and Victoria are definitely my favorite places… For people who love Nature and wildlife, Vancouver Island is most probably one the best place on earth to be. There, you find the world’s tallest trees and astounding forests, orcas and whales swim along the shores, snow-capped summits wink at the ocean…

But to be honest, I love it to be in London. I love fashion and the bustle of city life… and London (or Paris) is (are) the place(s) where I will most probably spend the rest of life.

If you could ask one successful author three questions about their writing, writing process, or books, what would they be?

Hmmm :
- Is it possible to become a successful author without the support of major media companies?
- Is it possible to become a successful author if you write different types or genres of books?
- Do you think that to become a successful author, one necessarily needs to work at a steady pace?

How many plot ideas are just waiting to be written? Can you tell us about one?

ATM, it’s all about women’s fate. I understand it seems quite conceited, but I would like to write (one day) an academic analysis of the economic and political contribution of girls and women to society(ies) (women empowerment). Another idea would be to write something about femininity, its true characteristics, role and functions, how it shapes women’s behavior, routine, and the society (and how it could help improve societies). And why not a fiction where I would point out the toxic and abusive power of (ancient) patriarchal societies and the emergence of a gender-equal world society, respectful of the environment and human rights… I would also like to write something about the beauty of Nature and the absolute need to take care of it, insisting on the fact that we are part of it and cannot survive without it. But these are still dreams… and they probably sound extremely naïve. I hope you will forgive me. xx

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